Taaffe on Cuba

Martin Spellman mspellman at cix.co.uk
Tue Sep 4 07:08:26 MDT 2001

	No, Cuba is not sacrosanct -- no more than anything else. But Taafe's
problem is that he is a 'Marxist-Leninist' (of the Trotskyist rather than
Stalinist stable). So to him 'Marxism' is a set of formulas into which the
world has to fit and prove the vitality of the doctrine and of him as a
master of the art. In Marxist-Leninist organisations the General Secretary
is the leading Marxist, don't forget and for God's sake don't challenge this
if you know what's good for you.

	Once you know the formula the book, article or paper writes itself and is
very predictable. It always used to make me smile back in the days when
Taafe was Editor of Militant and Ted Grant was 'Political Editor' how, for
example, the solution to any problem of the national liberation movement,
whether it was Palestine, Algeria or South Africa was invariably a
'Democratic Socialist Federation'. It was as if they'd written the last
paragraph first and the article marched steadfastly to its conclusion.

	I had a friend who used to sell me 'Militant' every week and I said to him
"Look Gary, you've got to do more, when you publish a paper, than just
change the date at the top of the page." It wasn't a NEWSpaper at all. It
was a set of formulas, encapsulated in the ever present 'Where We Stand'
column and events were selected to prove these over and over again.

	Why has Taafe published this now? Is is because of Australian criticism of
his old pamphlet or maybe to put some distance between his Socialist Party
and the errant Scottish version of Tommy Sheridan, who apparently have a
more positive view of Cuba?

	No, you don't have to be leader of a successful revolutionary movement to
criticise Cuba but Taafe isn't really critising Cuba, as Jorge Perez shows.
What he is doing, for the umpteenth time, is laying out the formulas and
slogans, what the reality of Cuba or anything else is is irrelevant and this
risible nonsense is called 'Marxism'.

	There is some discussion currently taking place in the National Union of
Journalists (NUJ), which recently affiliated to Cuba Solidarity, about press
freedom and human rights in Cuba. What strikes me about it so far is:

a) standards of press freedom are required of Cuba that don't even exist in
Britain or the 'West' generally

b) Cuba is not compared to the record of other countries in the Caribbean or
Latin America but with some abstract standard

	The blockade and its effects are mentioned only to dismiss them. Britain
only faced a comparable situation back in the days of the Napoleonic Wars
and even then had command of the seas. Unfortunately the Socialist Party
comrades with their standard, dismissal of 'state capitalist' countries tend
to aid and side with the reactionaries in these discussions.

Martin Spellman
So who is entitled to make critical remarks about Cuba? Do you have to lead
the revolution at home to victory first? Or is organising several thousand
workers in your organisation sufficient?

Frankly, I think all those piss-pot arguments only obscure the issue. Is
Cuba sacrosanct or not?


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